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Pens sign Dustin Jeffrey to one year contract

The Pittsburgh Penguins and Dustin Jeffrey agree to a one-year, $625,000 contract for 2013-14. But will the Pens use this player more?

Justin K. Aller

Not much going on in the summer, but the Penguins are bringing back terminally under-used depth forward Dustin Jeffrey for another season. From the team:

The Pittsburgh Penguins have re-signed forward Dustin Jeffrey to a one-year contract, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Ray Shero.

The deal has an average annual value of $625,000.

Jeffrey, 25, appeared in 25 regular-season games for the Penguins in 2012-13, tallying three goals, three assists and six points. He also played in 20 games with Zagreb Medvescak of the Austrian League, where he registered 23 points (11G-12A).

The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Jeffrey has played parts of the past five seasons with Pittsburgh, scoring 15 goals, 12 assists, 27 points and posting a plus-6 rating in 90 regular-season games. His best season came in 2010-11 when he established career highs across the board with seven goals, five assists and 12 points in 25 games

By a lot of measurables Jeffrey is one of the better forwards that the Penguins have. He's a pretty good player.

But Jeffrey has never found a niche. He was a center coming up the ranks but has attempted to switch to wing, given Pittsburgh's obvious depth down the middle. Jeffrey isn't a big or crushing player, but he can be smart positionally. He's not the fastest skater, but that isn't a detriment to him either. He has good hands and is capable of creating offense, but he hasn't gotten a long enough opportunity to see if he can be consistent. In short, he does everything pretty well, but doesn't really stand out with his puck skills or defensive ability or speed/forecheck.

With the Pens losing three wingers in Matt Cooke, Jarome Iginla and Brenden Morrow to free agency, Jeffrey has slid up the depth chart. But with Beau Bennett, Jussi Jokinen and Matt D'Agostini more in the picture than 12 months ago, there's always going to be a logjam for Jeffrey to get playing time.

Still, at $625,000- barely above NHL minimum wage- Jeffrey's a very nice add for a team that will be tight up against the salary cap next season. He can play 2nd line in a pinch if there's injuries. He can play 4th line minutes and be a decently valuable player.

Where do you hope Jeffrey plays? Should he finally get a consistent spot in the lineup night after night? Or do you think that he'll likely be the 12/13/14th forward down the stretch and again not appear in any playoff games.